Saturday, May 7, 2011

Airline ticket refunds up after bin Laden death, firm says

Saturday, May 7, 2011

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By Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY

- UPDATED: 1:50 p.m. ET

Refunds for airline tickets sold by U.S. travel agents, including online travel websites, increased in the days after Osama Bin Laden's death, says a company that facilitates transactions and provides data information for U.S. airlines.

Virginia-based Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) says in a release:

Initial data revealed ticket refunds increased to 33,518 on Monday, May 2, and Tuesday, May 3, compared to 24,146 on Monday, April 25, and Tuesday, April 26, the week before. Refunds processed on May 2 and 3 represent 2.6% of the 1.3 million outstanding air tickets during this period, versus 1.9% of the 1.2 million outstanding tickets during April 25 and 26.

I asked the ARC to follow-up on its findings, and here's what the firm had to say:

"We had received some industry queries about any changes or refunds after bin Laden's death. We looked at the data and saw a bump in refunds on Monday and Tuesday, although the data since is saying that things have settled down to the normal level we see daily," ARC spokesman Peter Abzug says in en e-mail to Today the Sky.

He adds:

We are in no way saying that this is directly related to the bin Laden event; we were only trying to provide a snapshot based on travel agency transactions (both brick and mortar and online.) For whatever reason, the bump was short lived and we can't positively say what it was from...there just seemed to be some interest in the information and that is why it was release. By the way, as it indicated in the release, the refunds to outstanding tickets represent a very small there was definitely no panic.

Posted May 6 2011 9:53AM

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